via South African Food Culture
What a wonderful description, now I want to plan a trip to South Africa to taste the yummy food! Purrs, Gulliver
When my mom was a kitten, they played the License Plate game when traveling. One point earned for each new state license plate seen, with bonus points if the plate was from another country. France became the first country to issue “number plates” in 1893. At the turn of the century New York required license plates on cars, but the car owners could have any material, style, and color of plate and could use their own identifying letters. License plates have been made of leather, wood, ceramic, plastic and copper. Sometimes the information was painted directly on the car. Now plates are made of metal with series of number and letters. States often add a slogan or a symbol to represent the state. There are also “personalized” plates which can be words, names or special combinations of letters and numbers that people like or to show support of an idea.. Shanghai, China is one of four Chinese cities that limit cars on the road by auctioning off a small number of license plates each year. This makes the license plate more expensive than some of the low priced cars!
Did you notice the city of Aqab is spelled with no u after the q? The name means ‘Obstacle’ in Arabic, due to the high mountains surrounding the city and the bumpy roads leading to it. It is Jordan’s only outlet to the Red Sea, so it is an important city for trading. Lots of tourists come here also, enjoying the national dish of Mansaf, which is rice with chunks of stewed lamb and jameed, a type of yogurt sauce. In Jordan, it is usually polite to decline the offer of a meal three times before accepting. I am lucky the people from Jordan are very hospitable, or I would get hungry waiting for my turn to eat!
The Elephant Seal is the largest seal in the world, and are named after elephants because the male’s snout looks like an elephant’s trunk. They spend 80 percent of their life in the water, but come ashore to mate in the winter. They look very peaceful from outside, but are great fighters when it comes down to protecting their space. Despite their big size, elephant seals aren’t slow. In fact, they are really good swimmers and they can move faster than humans on sand dunes. Elephant seals are great divers and can hold their breaths for a long time. They can stay under water for more than one and a half hours. And I can barely “dog paddle”
Mount Shasta is a volcanic mountain with 4 overlapping cones where eruptions of lava have come up at different periods of times. The mountain is not connected to any other nearby mountain, but stands alone in majestic beauty. Mount Shasta, like many amazing places, is the center of many stories, myths and legends including the story that a lost civilization lives in the center of the mountain. The dictionary says that a legend is a collection of stories which may be partly true, but also have some imaginary parts to it. They say I am a legend, what do you think?
I invited Sasha and our cousin Gaby to join me on a trip to Seattle,Washington. Gee, those girls can talk! They loved flying, and we scampered down to Pike’s Market as soon as we landed. Sasha and Gaby went shopping for postcards while I hung around the fish market and gobbled down the bits of fish that landed on the floor. Seattle has an interesting history. In its early years, the entire downtown burned in a huge fire. The city fathers decided to raise the street level 15 feet higher than the previous street. It must have been funny to watch ladies in long skirts climb up and down ladders to get to the entrance of the stores! Eventually the stores put entrances on their second floors to solve the problem, and the first floors became basements. There is even a tour of underground Seattle now. Purrs, Gulliver
“Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anyone really care?” I hummed an old song while mom changed the clocks recently. Humans like to divide things into years, days and hours, even time zones around the world. It is a mystery to cats how it can be 9:00 am in Vermont, when it is 10 pm in Tokyo, Japan And another mystery is Daylight Saving Time. People turn their clocks forward in the spring, and back in the fall. Actually, only about ¼ of the world’s population observe this ritual to make days longer in the summer time. Those who live close to the equator do not have much change in the amount of sun they see, but if you remember reading about Alaska, they can have almost 24 hours of sun in the summer, and the reverse in the winter. Oddly, Arizona and Hawaii -the 48th and 50th states don‘t observe daylight saving time at all, though the Navajo Nation within the state of Arizona does. It causes a lot of confusion around the world trying to remember what time it is in a different place. For me, it is always a good time for a nap! Purrs, Gulliver
It must be hard to be a postman in Mongolia. It is a large country with only one large city, the rest of the country is open desert and mountains. Many of the roads don’t have names, and sometimes the roads move without notice if there is a flood or other natural disaster. Plus, about one quarter (25%) of the people who live there are nomadic, which means they don’t have a fixed address, but move to a different place each season to grow crops or feed their animals. Detailed directions and landmarks are used to find a place, even in the cities. I wonder how they get their mail? Purrs, Gulliver
I love visiting Italy. Pasta, pizza, pianos and violins were all created by Italians, and the first operas (stories set to music) were written in Italy. The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning “calf land,” perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes. l, Italy is shaped like a high heel boot kicking a rock or piece of dirt. Nearly 80% of Italy is either mountainous or hilly. There are many famous explores who were Italian, including Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, John Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci. Maybe someday I will discover a new land and have it named Gully! Purrs, Gulliver